Gary’s Blue Mountains Photography Hotspots

GARY'S PHOTO GUIDE TO THE BLUE MOUNTAINS, AUSTRALIA.

"This is a guide I would have really appreciated when I first started photographing the Blue Mountains, Australia over a decade ago."  -  All info and images © Gary P Hayes 2015

For first timers to the mountains I recommended you also read my introduction guide A Landscape Photographers Guide to Visiting the Blue Mountains Australia which helps break down the geography and refers to many of the locations below. It is aimed at new and/or visiting photographers to help them find good locations for their photography - and who have limited time such as a single sunrise or sunset visit.

Click the images below to be taken to a dedicated page with (a) An interpretive photograph of the location by Gary (b)  a short description of the photo opp (c) brief notes on what type of lenses or accessories to bring (d) Detail on how to get from the embedded Google Maps position to the actual shooting location

GRADING (level of difficulty of access)

Grade 0 = car park at location Grade 1 - Easy flat walk   Grade 2 - Longer walk on an easy trail, some gradients or steps   Grade 3 - A moderate grade walk on rougher track, steeper gradient  Grade 4 - A walk for an extended period often on rocky steep terrain  Grade 5 - A  long trek on very rough terrain, spots off recognisable trail

NOTE: An alternative view of the areas below as MAPS VIEW with clickable location markers

KATOOMBA AREA - Gary's Photo Spots

Katoomba is notable for its south facing escarpment, roughly following Cliff Drive and various key points along that include Prince Henry Cliff walk lookouts, through to echo point, across to Scenic World and Katoomba Falls gully and then onto more wilder areas around Narrow Neck and Nellies Glen. There are various walks down to the Jamison Valley floor passing many great waterfalls. North Katoomba (Yosemite) has a few treats such as Minnehaha Falls amongst others. NOTE: Lookouts near Cahills and Boars Head are still out of bounds due to the fires there last year.

Katoomba Weather

Partly Cloudy
Today

11/13

0%

Partly Cloudy
Partly cloudy. High near 25C. Winds ENE at 15 to 25 km/h.

Chance of a Thunderstorm
Tomorrow

11/14

60%

Chance of a Thunderstorm
Rain showers in the morning with numerous thunderstorms developing in the afternoon. High 21C. Winds NW at 10 to 15 km/h. Chance of rain 80%.

Chance of Rain
Thursday

11/15

90%

Chance of Rain
Showers and thundershowers likely. High 19C. Winds ESE at 10 to 15 km/h. Chance of rain 90%.

Chance of Rain
Friday

11/16

40%

Chance of Rain
Considerable cloudiness with occasional rain showers. High 18C. Winds ESE at 10 to 15 km/h. Chance of rain 40%.

 

 

BLACKHEATH AREA - Gary's Photo Spots

Blackheath is special as it accesses the western and southern aspects of the Grose Valley (and Govetts Gorge). So particularly good at sunrise from Evans, Govetts, Pulpit and Hanging Rock through to more sunset spots like Anvil and on the other side of the plateau Hargraves (which overlooks the cultivated Megalong Valley). Plenty of glens, waterfalls and smaller lookouts on the Megalong, Shipley side too. 

LEURA AREA - Gary's Photo Spots

Leura south is really an extension of the eastern side of Katoomba and many walks join up, such as Federal Pass underneath the Three Sisters into the wonderful Leura Forest and some special waterfalls. The biggest tourist area is Leura Cascades here which, if you keep walking, gets a bit more rugged as it heads down into the valley past Bridal Veil and Weeping Rock. On the northern side Mount Hay Road takes you into more rugged and wild areas onto the eastern ridges of the Grose Valley which are great at sunset.

WENTWORTH FALLS AREA - Gary's Photo Spots

Most of the activity is on the southern edges of the Jamison and the main Wentworth Falls via the National Pass and up through the Valley of the Waters. Some of the most photogenic falls are in this area. North there is a nice lake for reflections and one of the most popular sunset spots a few kms east at Lincoln's Rock. 

MOUNT VICTORIA AREA - Gary's Photo Spots

At the end of the main strip so to speak, this area is very special and has a lot to offer, I know because I live here. On the eastern side access to the upper ends of the Grose and fantastic spots above Victoria Falls such as Asgards Head for example, while on the western escarpment many lookouts over the Kanimbla Valley great at sundown. Quite a few caves are on offer too.

LOW AND MID MOUNTAINS AREA - Gary's Photo Spots

Often overlooked by visiting photographers as the landscape is a lot 'smaller' than Wentworth Falls and beyond but it still has a lot to offer. The many unique falls around Lawson and Hazelbrook, some very interesting escarpment views over the Napean lower down in Lapstone areas plus a few secret spots accessing the eastern end of the Grose Valley too.

LITHGOW AND OBERON AREA - Gary's Photo Spots

A bit amiss of me to group this large area into one grouping but it sort of works. Lithgow is more than just a mining town and although it's main city attraction for photographers is the Blast Furnace, on it's door step are some amazing places yet to be fully represented by photography. Newnes and Ben Bullen State forest are not protected under the Gardens of Stone umbrella, yet, but if you have a decent 4WD have treasures inside. To the west of Lithgow the rolling Kanimbla Hills and Hartley nestled on the plateau and further out the more wilder and rugged areas of Kanangra, whose main entrance is actually very close to Jenolan Caves areas. Snow often falls first in this corner of the region too.

GARDENS OF STONE AREA - Gary's Photo Spots

Although the Gardens of Stone NP is a very defined area I have used it here to describe a wider area encompassing Capertee and Wolgan Valleys plus areas in a proposed extension for the Gardens of Stone which includes Ben Bullen and Newnes State Forests and other areas close by.

BELLS LINE / EXPLORERS RANGE / NORTHERN GROSE - Gary's Photo Spots

The areas on the north escarpment of the Grose Valley are relatively un-photographed but provide amazing new vistas. But the general area includes Mount Wilson and also down towards Mount Tomah

SUNSETS - Gary's Photo Spots

I get a lot of requests for specific locations at sunrise or sunset and to the uninitiated it is hard to find them on the main south facing Great Western Highway, so these are spots specifically pointing mostly west at the golden hour.


29 Responses to Gary’s Blue Mountains Photography Hotspots

  1. Katie Cordes says:

    Hi Gary,
    Thank you so much for this. Having been an amature photographer for many years, both part time, and as an artist I have only just decided to start landscape photography. Living and hiking in the Blue Mountains -it wasn’t really a choice 🙂 . Thank you so much for this incredible guide, it’s really appreciated and very generous of you.
    Katie

    • Gary Hayes says:

      Thanks Katie – sorry for the delay your comment got held up in the spam queue! Hope to be adding a lot more to it soon, when I get some spare moments, and if there are any missing spots please shout 🙂

  2. Nick says:

    Hi, nice photo guide collection you have here! Do you mind share a link of your saved google map please? Thanks

    • Gary Hayes says:

      Hi Nick – all of the locations have their own Google reference, but I think you are talking about the map with all locations in one place?

  3. lesa corrine says:

    Gary ..this is amazing..just love the photography and what a great site for other photographers to enjoy….Just wonderful..Thank you so much !

  4. lesa corrine says:

    Gary what a wonderful site….Thank you so much, the photography is beautiful and your knowledge and research of the area is a God send..Thank you sooo much .

  5. lesa corrine says:

    Wow..I am in awe at the detail and amount of work you have put into this..It is really fantastic and very much appreciated..especially by me !

    • Gary Hayes says:

      No worries Lesa – glad to know people are using the info, it will make for a better representation of the Blue Mountains overall photographically I hope.

  6. Shane Corderoy says:

    Hi Gary,
    I love the effort that you have gone to with this page. I enjoyed reading it and there are a few spots on here that I haven’t visited. Great work

  7. Vicki Goldsmith says:

    two words ….. thank you <3

  8. Neil Owen says:

    A great piece of work and such details as well – a labour of love! I wish we’d seen this before we were there on vacation in late March/early April this year – it would have made all the difference. Mind you – if you could also arrange for the weather to be better then these guides would be 100% perfect! Keep up the great work and the accompanying images do it real justice as well – there are some stunning shots in there.

  9. Bryce says:

    Constantly find myself coming back here for ideas an Inspiration, big fan of your work mate!

  10. John Wood says:

    Thanks for sharing your site Gary. You are a wonderful photographer and congratulations on producing such an informative and detailed web site.

  11. Linda Gray says:

    Hi Gary
    I have been a fan of your photography for about 2 years now. I love how you manage to capture the beauty of the Blue Mountains.
    This guide is fantastic. As a bush walker I am very familiar with a lot of the areas you have captured. I guess I am just going to have to
    get out of bed a lot earlier. Thank you for this very informative guide and for inspiring me to take better photos.

    • Gary Hayes says:

      Very kind Linda – yes sunrise for the selected lookouts is a great ‘uplifting’ experience as well as visually spectacular. Also I have left off a lot of less accessible locations for the moment and might put them in advanced bush photo walker category! Cheers

  12. John Matthews says:

    Thanks Gary for your wonderful website photographs.

    I am a member of an amateur photography group in Brisbane considering a trip to the Blue Mountains.

    Can you suggest the best time of year for the dawn and sunset shots, and also referring to your comment below….have you listed those less accesibble locations anywhere please?

    cheers

    John

    I have left off a lot of less accessible locations for the moment and might put them in advanced bush photo walker category!

    • Gary Hayes says:

      Hi John – thanks for contacting. Just got back from overseas so catching up with mails.

      The best time to capture dawn and sunset is a tough one because there are always spates of cloud activity or not and mist in the valleys or not for any given week. But a quick scan of my images (and this is if you wanted some over a nothing steer!) that good cloud and mist sunrises tend to be late summer and strong sunsets late spring early summer – and this is only a high level suggestion. Come any week of the year and you will have good options.

      As for the less accessible locations I am holding off on the moment from publishing a lot as some photographers have got into difficulty in some of the areas I will publish, especially in the non managed state forests areas, also they do require a raised 4WD in many instances and have found people trying to get to some in 2WD rentals. But I will publish eventually with a clear disclaimer to cover my back! Cheers Gary

  13. Teddy Sinclair says:

    Hey Gary
    I have a car and I’m looking to photograph it with a nice backdrop with a model. Do you know of any spots that I can drive up to and get great photos?

    • Gary Hayes says:

      Hi Teddy. As you may expect there are very few spots you can drive right to the edge of a great view unless you have a 4WD and I know several places you can get close to the edge. If you have a low clearance car and are after just a nice backdrop there are several spots. But I really need to know what sort of shot composition wise you are after vs generally ‘drive up’…

  14. Sajid says:

    Hi Gary,
    Great resource really appreciate it.

    I was wondering would you happen to know where the cave depicted in this picture is located: http://williampatino.com/2015/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Will-Patino-Blue-Mountains-Australia.jpg ?

    The author claims it is below the main viewing platform at Lincoln’s Rock but I went there last weekend and the cave resembled nothing like the picture. Cave I found at Lincoln’s Rock had trees that hinder visibility and make taking a photo difficult.

    Many thanks.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *